The ‘old’ rake took its toll on commuters in Sunday’s train collision at Mahim in which nine people were injured.
An initial probe into the mishap has revealed that fewer commuters would have sustained injuries had the stationary train, which bore the brunt of the collision, not been as old as 25 years.
“The buffers of the stationary train that were supposed to absorb the impact of the collision had completely given way and were dented from the insides,” said a senior railway official who spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authorisation to speak to the media.
“This happened as the train was old. Even the base of the compartment’s frame cracked due to the impact.”
The source said the Western Railway should phase out all old rakes.
“The number identification emblazoned on outer compartment walls of all over-age trains are prefixed with a ‘0’ for easy identification and better maintenance,” the source said.
The motorman of the other train that collided with the stationary train, S.D. Khole who has been suspended, is an ex-armyman. He joined the Western Railway in 1996. He has no previous record of any safety lapse and has cleared regular medical tests and undergone all refresher trainings.
The railways, however, refused to issue any official statement over the cause of the mishap, saying the commissioner of railway safety would inquire into the matter.
While authorities said the motorman had jumped a signal, motormen claimed that the signal was amber at the time.